Pioneering procurement professionals at Danske Bank have developed a system of workshops that bring together procurement, suppliers, and consultants to join forces in solving business problems. Addressing the Procurement Con Indirect conference in Copenhagen, the Bank’s head of procurement innovation, Bo Dungal, said that he and his colleagues were “leveraging the brain power of our third-party providers” by collaborating with them to ease “pain points” in the organisation. He explained that competitors and start-up companies had been invited to the new workshops, although much work had been undertaken before to define the problems precisely and set criteria for measuring success.
Essentially, partners are brought in and asked to help the bank develop a solution for specified pain points. Dungal continued: “As long as you define the problem you want to solve – what are the goals, the success criteria – our partners, through co-creation, design thinking – they will in a day, in a week, for free, create a MVP [minimum viable product] or prototype and we will get tomorrow’s best.”
So far, the workshops have tackled problems with the bank’s advanced analytics, presumably including spend analytics, its travel app, and debt collection functions. Dungal said that the assembled parties in the workshop had “fundamentally rethought” the way the bank should be handling debt collection. To date, he explained, 23 workshop events had occurred since the start of the programme 18-months ago. In that time, only one of the events had failed to generate a successful outcome.
Currently, Dungal added, the bank has 120 corporations waiting to participate – and as the solutions are mutually beneficial, they are willing to do it without charge. When he enquired of them why they were willing to take part for free, the reply was: “This is the best way to get to know Danske Bank.” Initiatives such as this may have the potential to yield innovations in other procurement functions, supply relationship management, category management, opportunity assessment and strategic sourcing among them.